I have loved featuring this series. It’s one of my favorites, not just because of the amazing cover art but because of the brilliant way Traci Chee weaves her stories together. While I’m sorry to see the end of this series, I can’t wait to see what Traci writes next.
Sefia is determined to keep Archer out of the Guard’s clutches and their plans for war between the Five Kingdoms. The Book, the ancient, infinite codex of the past, present and future, tells of a prophecy that will plunge Kelanna in that bloody war, but it requires a boy—Archer—and Sefia will stop at nothing to ensure his safety. The Guard has already stolen her mother, her father, and her Aunt Nin. Sefia would sooner die than let them take anymore from her—especially the boy she loves.
But escaping the Guard and the Book’s prophecy is no easy task. After all, what is written always comes to pass. As Sefia and Archer watch Kelanna start to crumble to the Guard’s will, they will have to choose between their love and joining a war that just might tear them apart.
Having barely escaped the clutches of the Guard, Sefia and Archer are back on the run, slipping into the safety of the forest to tend to their wounds and plan their next move. Haunted by painful memories, Archer struggles to overcome the trauma of his past with the impressors, whose cruelty plagues him whenever he closes his eyes. But when Sefia and Archer happen upon a crew of impressors in the wilderness, Archer finally finds a way to combat his nightmares: by hunting impressors and freeing the boys they hold captive.
With Sefia’s help, Archer travels across the kingdom of Deliene rescuing boys while she continues to investigate the mysterious Book and secrets it contains. But the more battles they fight, the more fights Archer craves, until his thirst for violence threatens to transform him from the gentle boy Sefia knows to a grim warrior with a cruel destiny. As Sefia begins to unravel the threads that connect Archer’s fate to her parents’ betrayal of the Guard so long ago, she and Archer must figure out a way to subvert the Guard’s plans before they are ensnared in a war that will pit kingdom against kingdom, leaving their future and the safety of the entire world hanging in the balance.
Once there was, and one day there will be. This is the beginning of every story.
Sefia lives her life on the run. After her father is viciously murdered, she flees to the forest with her aunt Nin, the only person left she can trust. They survive in the wilderness together, hunting and stealing what they need, forever looking over their shoulders for new threats. But when Nin is kidnapped, Sefia is suddenly on her own, with no way to know who’s taken Nin or where she is. Her only clue is a strange rectangular object that once belonged to her father left behind, something she comes to realize is a book.
Though reading is unheard of in Sefia’s world, she slowly learns, unearthing the book’s closely guarded secrets, which may be the key to Nin’s disappearance and discovering what really happened the day her father was killed. With no time to lose, and the unexpected help of swashbuckling pirates and an enigmatic stranger, Sefia sets out on a dangerous journey to rescue her aunt, using the book as her guide. In the end, she discovers what the book had been trying to tell her all along: Nothing is as it seems, and the end of her story is only the beginning.
In our last interview, you talked about the importance of trying to make dreams a reality. What have you found is the best way to cope when dreams don’t play out as planned?
I tell myself they aren’t a reality yet. ?
That’s a good way of looking at it! THE STORYTELLER is the last installment of The Reader trilogy. What will you miss most about this world you’ve created?
It hasn’t really hit me that I’m truly leaving this world behind, but the longer I go without writing it, the more I realize that I’ll never spend time with Sefia or Archer again. I’ll never sail the ocean with Captain Reed and the Current of Faith. And I’m beginning to realize, the longer I’m away from these characters, that I’m going to miss them quite dearly. They lived in my head for ten years–some, like Captain Reed, for longer–and now they’re just… gone. I like to imagine that they’re having new adventures, somewhere in that wide world of untold stories, or, perhaps, having new adventures with new readers who are just discovering them for the first time.
And Captain Reed is definitely worth discovering! I love “Pure Unmodified Doubts.” Where did the idea to bottle rejections come from?
Doubts is an art book made of all the rejections I racked up before I published The Reader in 2016. I printed them on tissue paper, rolled them up into pill capsules, and stuck them in a vintage medicine bottle “for the immediate reduction in self worth. Indispensable to the working writer.” I first got the idea when I started trying to find an agent with The Reader, and the rejections kept coming in… and coming in… and coming in… and the more the rejections piled up, the smaller and more powerless I felt. I couldn’t write anymore. It all seemed so… hopeless.
So I decided to take my power back. I turned all the creative energy that I wasn’t using on writing and put it into this project. Something that would help me take the power out of the rejections and reclaim it for myself. Something weird and booky and full of joy.
Because rejections are bitter medicine, but they’re also part of the job. They’re proof that I’m doing this. I’m trying. There’s something really empowering about that, I think, and Doubts is a reminder of that.
Indeed it is. If you could tell your younger writer self one thing, what would it be and why?
“I know it’s not your strong suit, but try to be patient, especially with yourself. Try not to stress. And try to celebrate every step of the journey, because every step is leading you where you need to go.”